Hawkeye men’s tennis heads into offseason on a high note


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The Iowa men’s tennis team finished off an up-and-down season on Sunday at the Big Ten Singles/Doubles tournament. Head coach Steve Houghton said he was satisfied with how his Hawkeyes finished off the fall.

The Hawkeyes won 15 matches last weekend, compared to winning 20 last season.

2012 wasn’t without its successes, however. Sophomore Matt Hagan beat Michigan State’s No. 1 singles player, Dennis Bogatov, in the main draw.

Houghton was also pleased by Jonas Dierckx’s performance in the competition, which resulted in a consolation title.

“He won four matches [in a row], which is really hard to do in that tough of an event,” Houghton said.

Houghton added that he thought that Michael Swank, Garret Dunn and Dominic Patrick played their best tennis of the fall.

“The way we played in that tournament really gave me a lot of hope for the spring,” Houghton said. “I think it did with the guys too.”

The Hawkeye head coach said this particular tournament gives him a better idea of how his team will measure up to Big Ten competition in a few months.

“The other tournaments are harder to analyze. They were just so scattered,” Houghton said. “I’d describe [our performances] as up and down. But we were firing at all cylinders at this last event.”

Senior captain Garret Dunn believes that seeing inter-conference talent will help in preparation for spring on the court, as well as conviction to continue to play at a high level.

“We saw a lot of other Big Ten teams and their new players, so we know what they’re capable of,” Dunn said. “The fact that we had one of our better showings of the fall to finish the season was a big confidence booster. We’re riding that all the way this offseason into January.

Houghton says that there’s a clear top group of players in the singles game of Dunn, Hagan, Patrick, and transfer Juan Estenssoro. Dierckx also lead the team in singles wins with a record of 9-4 on the season. He thinks that the team is taking a step in the right step for the upcoming dual season.

“I know everyone won at least match so that’s something we can build on,”
Dierckx said. “We know we’re improving and now we have a few months to practice on the things we know we need to work on.”

The team is off until January 25, 2013, which means the squad will have almost two months away from competition. Dunn thinks it’s key the team stays fresh over their season break.

“We’re going to have to try and create our own competition,” Dunn said. “Guys need to keep playing with each other. We’re going to try and do intra-squad matches to make sure guys are staying sharp.”

Dunn added that it’s important that the team stay mentally prepared as the team heads into the offseason.

“Everyone has their own individual things to work on and goals,” Dunn said. “As a team we have to keep playing as much as we can and don’t lose a competitive attitude.”

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